Workers' fears after Nissan chief refuses to guarantee Sunderland plant will build new Juke

The current Nissan Juke
The current Nissan Juke
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Nissan bosses have failed to calm fears the firm's Sunderland plant could miss out on production of the new Juke as a result of Brexit.

The firm announced last year that the plant was to make a new version of the mini-crossover.

Trevor Mann

Trevor Mann

But now website Automotive News Europe says Nissan Chief Performance Officer Trevor Mann has declined to give assurances production would continue in Sunderland.

It quotes him saying the decision on where to build the new Juke for European markets would be difficult while the terms of any UK trade deal with the EU were unclear: "We make all our decisions on merit and added value to shareholders.

"We make them based on what we know, and right now we don't know."

One employee, who did not wish to be named, contacted the Echo to say: "We were told last week on a company brief we were building the new Juke.

Carlos Ghosn at the unveiling of the Sunderland-built Qashqai Mark II

Carlos Ghosn at the unveiling of the Sunderland-built Qashqai Mark II

"Now they say we might not. Trevor Mann even told us not to worry about anything, 'it is business as usual,' now it looks like jobs are under threat."

A Nissan statement today stopped short of offering any reassurances about the plans for the Juke: "Nissan is working closely with the new UK Government to ensure our success and investment in the UK continues," it said.

"However, this depends on a number of important factors, including the UK’s trade and tariff negotiations with the European Union.

"We will continue our discussions with the Government, however, future business decisions will be made on a case by case basis, as is our policy.

"It is in the interest of the businesses and people of the UK that a resolution is reached as soon as possible."

Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn sparked fears over the long-term future of its Wearside operation last week, when he announced the firm was suspending investment in Sunderland pending reassurances about the financial implications of quitting the EU.

"If there are tax barriers being established on cars, you have to have a commitment for carmakers who export to Europe that there is some kind of compensation," he said.

George Osborne visited the Nissan plant last September to announce it would be producing the new Juke, and described it as ‘a massive vote of confidence’ in the city and the wider North East.

"Let’s be clear, this company could have made the decision to invest in Spain or France, rather than Sunderland,” he said.

"Why did they choose Sunderland? It’s really two things – first, the Government stepped in to help. "e stepped in with Nissan, we said ‘What do you need, how can we help?, you are really welcome in the UK,’ – but I am not going to pretend that’s all that was required.

"f we hadn’t had a brilliant workforce here, if we hadn’t had fantastic people here, who are some of the hardest working and most productive car workers in the world, then it would not have come here."